Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has come out swinging at Michael Savage after the conservative radio talk host purportedly criticized Pope Francis over the U.S.-Mexico border crisis.
"Savage is calling him all kinds of left-wing names and acting as if the Pope has some special agenda,'' Donohue said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"Michael Savage was cruel in some of the language that he used against the Holy Father.''
Francis has urged that the thousands of Central American children who have been illegally flooding into the U.S. in recent months be welcomed and taken care of.
Donohue said that didn't sit well with Savage.
"Michael Savage . . . made some pretty savage kinds of remarks about the Pope and calling him a communist and saying he's trying to exploit this whole situation,'' Donohue said.
"What the Pope is simply saying is that you have no choice but to tend to the needs of the needy once they're here. He doesn't say that therefore they have a right to stay here for the rest of their lives.
"He doesn't tell the people in a micro-managerial way what to do . . . He's speaking as a quintessential Catholic.''
A transcript of Savage's remarks was not available, but Donohue's attack on the veteran radio-show host, who is heard from coast to coast, is surprising in that both men are card-carrying conservatives.
Savage is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the Vatican.
In May, responding to Pope Francis' comments about income inequality around the world, Savage said that if the pontiff wanted income redistribution, he should begin with his own church.
Savage, author of "A Time for War,''
also said he would bid $1 million for Michelangelo's famed fresco at the Sistine Chapel.
"The reason I'm offering that money to the Pope and the Vatican is so they can redistribute the wealth that begins in the Vatican itself," Savage said.
Donohue said the Pope's compassion has been misinterpreted by both the right and the left.
"The Holy Father understands the need to secure our borders, but he also says that if you're here, you first tend to the people in a humanitarian way,'' he said.
In recent months, news reports have cited worries about the Pope's health. Donohue said there is concern about the Pope's physical condition.
"Number one, he's gained an awful lot of weight since he's been pope,'' Donohue said. "Number two, he's fatigued and he has missed a number of assignments.
"Now, I am not saying that he's teetering or anything of that nature. I'm simply saying, does he have health problems? Yes, he obviously has health problems.''
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